HCOG Broadens Local Renewable Energy Supply to Include Methane

Hampshire Council of Governments (HCOG) is again bringing new sources of clean, renewable electricity to Western Massachusetts towns. This time it is in the form of methane produced from manure and food waste. HCOG has partnered with AG-Grid Energy LLC, whose agricultural anaerobic digesters convert agricultural and organic waste into renewable energy. Two local dairy farms, Rockwood Farms in Granville, MA, and Luther Belden Farms in Hatfield, MA, will use these digesters to produce 5.3 million kWh per year from what had previously been waste products. The total amount of manure-related material to be treated by the system is estimated to be 40 tons/day, or roughly 14,625 tons/year. Green Energy Saves Consumers 15% on Electricity Bill.
“For the consumer, using this new source of energy is as simple as signing a “net metering” agreement,” says Todd Ford, HCOG’s Executive Director. “Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits renewable energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid. Electricity users need only sign a contract to use this green energy. Not only will they be using clean, renewable, locally produced energy, but they will save 15% at the same time. It’s a true win-win.” The Town of Granville is the first town to choose to power their municipal buildings through local organic waste. Granville’s select board will be powering their municipal buildings using credits from the Granville based Rockwood Farms. Rockwood Farm is a family-owned and operated dairy farm. Owner Richard Woodger says he chose to invest in anaerobic digestion as the farm was “looking for something to remain sustainable in Massachusetts” as the market prices of milk has declined over the years and this project will bring in additional sources of revenue. He added that “converting the manure and food waste into power helps reduce odor at the farm.”

Finding the best partners for this project was an easy decision for Rashi Akki, Owner and CEO of Ag-Grid Energy. “Hampshire Council of Governments is already successfully working with towns. We saw the partnership as a good fit because Ag-Grid is looking to support local Western Massachusetts towns, just like how Hampshire Power has done by reducing the cost of electricity for many local municipalities [as a third party energy supplier].”
“HCOG is dedicated to investing in new, local, renewable energy sources. These projects have tremendous benefit to Western Massachusetts in the form of jobs, carbon reduction, and lower electricity costs. Solar, wind, and anaerobic digestion are all part of our energy future and we are proud to be deeply involved in this effort,” said Ford. The anaerobic digester net metering credits are the latest in HCOG’s electricity investments following successful ventures in local solar. To learn how you can save up to 15% off your electricity bill go to www.hampshiresolar.org


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